When I first arrived in Australia, it was really overwhelming, but I was really just absorbing everything. It was the first time I had any possessions of my own, things looked different, and even smelled different to back home.
I remember that first day, I went for a nap and when woke up I went to my neighbour’s place and just connected and played with David and Simone – without even knowing how to speak English, we miraculously communicated through play.
Integrating into a new country was exciting. Everything was new, everyone was friendly and it was such a change to what I remembered in the Phillipines and had experienced as a child. I felt safe and loved in my new home and didn’t feel I had any major difficulties adjusting. I do remember that I wasn’t interested in connecting with other inter-country adoptees or the families from ASIAC, and I don’t know if it was subconscious or because of trauma, at that time I just focused on moving on with my life and fitting into a new culture and learning english.
The most challenging aspect was being in school and learning how to read and write, especially when we were asked to read out loud – that was really difficult for me. I remember it use to take me a long time to read out loud, but no matter how long it took, I was determined to get to the end . I guess that’s the way I’ve always been, fiercely determined despite the challenges around me.
In Secondary school, as I was more competent in speaking english I still found it quite hard to express how I felt and this is probably the main reason why I tended to gravitate towards the Arts – I think singing, drama and dance helped with my expression.
I think dance initially was a way to express myself and as I got older, towards my late 20’s I had done a lot of personal development work and began to learn how to express myself authentically.
Initially when I became a full time choreographer and dancer, I always film my pieces of work so that I could get better. As I started to travel all parts the world and began meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds, I began taking an interest more of their stories.
I always thought when I was learning to make films, that it was for a bigger purpose, It wasn’t just about the tools or learning the software. That was the first part of understanding how it worked, but deep down I also knew that this skill set could be applied to something bigger than myself. I started filmmaking in 2009 and now 8 years later, it turns out that learning film has eventually going to help me find my parents.